They say things often come to you when you aren’t looking..and after what happened with me I am beginning to belive there is some merit to that statement.
I found Nirvana today..Its true..and in a coffee shop at that..Average height, athletic built with a short crop and a disarming smile. If I knew Nirvana came in such exotic packaging, i think I would have begun the search long ago. But anyways, this is a story I must tell…who knows when you might run into Nirvana yourself…
It happened at Cafe Coffee Day. The place was packed; every table was taken. I had found myself a quite corner in the far end. Leo Buscaglia was keeping me company with his writing ‘ Living, Loving and Learning’. A tall glass of cold coffee stood half empty on the table, sharing space with a humble brownie.. I was in no hurry and had no intentions of leaving my new found territory. Every little while, I would close the book to let the words sink in, staring outside at the world going by. Everybody seemed busy, moving. Even within, there was no quite, only sound, which mixed with music only qualified as baseless noise. The florist outside was busy wrapping pink and white carnations; the lone fruit seller looked with hungry eyes at passersby, hoping to make a sale; a boy not more than 6 fussed, confused over what ice cream he must have; an elderly gentleman walks past lugging bag fulls of veges. A face of loneliness perhaps, or only my sense of drama.
While i was busy taking in the sounds and sights of the world passing by, he had walked up to the table.
” Is this seat taken? No empty chairs in here”.
“Sure, go ahead”, I said. Good Samaritan me :). A few awkward minutes later, after pretending to be engrossed in our respective books, he broke the silence.
” Hi. I am Nirvana..just what you were looking for”. Excuse me!! Duhh!! who has a name like that. For some time, which seemed like eternity, I was completely stumped for an answer. When I finally found my speech again, I went into a most embarrassing fit of laughter. Oh god! this always happens. Once I start laughing, then I am on a roll. Nothing can stop me..He didn’t seem the least bit perturbed. He just watched me amused, a twinkle in his eyes and the hint of something that I cannot possible describe in words.
He had caught me completely off guard..the ice had broken. His real name is not Nirvana, it is an adopted name. He is a New Zealander, though for the last one year you could simply call him a gypsy. A hard core traveler, who believes in overland travel as true travel ( when possible), Nirvana has visited almost all the continents. He is an oceanographer who loves the vertical world and though he is passionate about his work, he is uncomfortable with what lies in those dark depths. His culinary skills ( to which he has now added Rajasthani cuisine) have helped him see the world, often working in small places in exchange for place to stay.
The journey of his name is even more fascinating..Just a month before he started traveling, his girlfriend of 3 years gave him the red signal. It was over, she said. Her reason was simple. Relationships weren’t for her. The only thing she wanted was a glimpse of nirvana and then live in that blissful state forever. Worldly pleasures were not hers anymore. She was going away to seek. Heart broken, he decided to undertake a journey of his own. As he hopped from place to place, he came across many fellow seekers, each searching for the penultimate prize of living – nirvana. He could not understand it. To him, simply living seemed hard enough without further complicating matters looking for something that could not be defined. What was worse, most people seemed pathetically unhappy in their today and present because they weren’t getting any closer to the truth. He didn’t care about any of this, a free spirit had taken form and he was happy experiencing everything that life had to offer.
And one fine day, he simply chose to be ‘Nirvana’..That someone who everyone wanted, that something everyone wanted to experience. He was out to prove that Nirvana wasn’t hard to find and it was indeed a living breathing person. ( It helps to be good looking at such times :). If he couldn’t find it, and they couldn’t find it, then he was jolly well going to be Nirvana himself. Not only that, but that Nirvana could be found in the buzz of daily life, of daily existence..And iwasn’t even looking! He was full of stories and anecdotes and mostly they had happy beginnings, happy withins and happy endings. He loved that his little transition would often bring a smile to other people’s faces. For that little length of time, they had found Nirvana. Atleast they could carry on with normal life now that Nirvana had been found.
Twilight was giving way to night, shadows had begun to form and lengthen, the vendor had gone and the traffic had eased. We sat there, talking endlessly.How much time had lapsed, neither had a clue. I guess that is how it is when you find Nirvana, the concept of time is lost. We did not exchange numbers or email ids. I never asked him his real name. I did not question what he said, we simply talked.
The chance that we will ever meet again are next to none. We occupy different worlds. Never before have I spoken of things so close to my heart to a stranger and possibly never after.
It ws finally time to say goodbye and it seemed like I was parting from an old, forgotten friend. It was a beautiful night and as i walked away, I knew I was holding a precious secret to my heart..that Nirvana exists only within and like my stranger friend, if you looked within, you were Nirvana..I am Nirvana.